Meet the 2021-22 CSTA Equity Fellows
- Lauren Berrios: Visual-Spatial Enrichment Teacher, Grades PK-8, in the White Plains City School District (White Plains, NY)
- Anita Debarlaben: CS Teacher, Grades 6-12, at the University of Chicago Lab School High School (Chicago, IL)
- Regina Fugate: Technology Computer Science Teacher, Grades 6-12, at Maryland School for the Blind (Baltimore, MD)
- Leontae Gray-Ward: PLTW Instructor, Grades 6-8, at Scott Middle School (Gary, IN)
- Sandra Hartman: CS and Media Educator, Grades 6-8, at Lehman Intermediate School (Dingman’s Ferry, PA)
- Shawn Patrick Higgins: CS and Media Arts Teacher, Grades 6-8, at Parkrose Middle School (Portland, OR)
- Vanessa Jones: Technology Design Specialist, grades K-12, at Austin ISD (Austin, TX)
- Catherine Medina-DeVilliers: CS/IT/Cyber Educator, Grades 9-12, at Germanna Community College (Stafford, VA)
- Pradip Misra: CS Teacher, Grades 6-12 at Bagdad Unified School District (Bagdad, AZ)
- Carla Neely: STEM Teacher, Grades 3-8, at Warner Girls’ Leadership Academy (Cleveland, OH)
- Sonal Patel: Digital Learning Innovation Coordinator, Grades K-12, at San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (San Bernardino, CA)
- Donald Saint-Germain: CS Teacher, Grades 9-12, at Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice (Bronx, NY)
- Jennifer Styer: CS Teacher, Grades 9-12, at Sehome High School (Bellingham, WA)
- Ashley Ufret: Equity Teacher Leader/ CS Integration Specialist, Grades K-5, at PS 375 Jackie Robinson School (Brooklyn, NY)
- Tory Wadlington: Special Education and CS Teacher, Grades 9-12, at Murrieta Valley (Murrieta, CA)
Lauren Berrios is a visual-spatial enrichment teacher for 1st through 5th-grade students in the White Plains City School District in New York. She is a mentor teacher for the Girls4Tech club at the 6th-grade campus and participates as a founding member of her district’s equity committee. Throughout her years as an enrichment teacher, Lauren has campaigned for flexible accommodations, which has allowed many more students to participate in computer science programming. Lauren has been teaching computer science for 6 years and is entering her 11th year of teaching. She is a Picademy Certified educator and an Upperline Code Teaching Fellow. Lauren graduated from Manhattanville College with a Masters of Arts in Teaching in Visual Arts.
Anita Debarlaben earned a BS in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Computer Science. After writing software for over 18 years she changed her career to education. She truly believes that some students need to “see one to be one” so she was determined to reach, teach and encourage as many students as possible to enter STEM careers. She recently joined University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (UCLS) as a high school CS teacher where she teaches AI and Machine Learning and Introduction to Programming. Prior to joining UCLS, she taught Mathematics and Computer Science for over 10 years. Last year Anita earned the AP Computer Science Principles Female Diversity Award for increasing her female enrollment from less than 10% to almost 50%. Anita is also proud to be chosen as a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teachers (PAEMST) for 2021.
Gina Fugate is a Lego Engineering & Technology Teacher at Maryland School for the Blind. She has 15 years of teaching experience, including teaching students who are blind and visually impaired in a public school setting in Appalachia. Gina is a first-generation college graduate and began her teaching journey focused on high school English. After learning about her own eye condition, Gina earned her M.Ed. in Special Education with an emphasis on Visual Disabilities from Vanderbilt University. She is a self-described lifetime learner and has acquired other specialties, which include finding her way to computer science, accessibility, and assistive technology. Gina co-coaches the DOT5UDOGS and 180 Optimum using Quorum Lego Robotics for First Lego League. She is an active member of the Curriculum Committee for the Quorum Programming Language. She is also co-teaching AP Computer Science Principles for the Virtual Co-op via the Council of Schools for the Blind.
Leontae is a proud Purdue University Alumni that received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology. She is passionate about affording scholars high-quality computer science programming and other STEM opportunities. Currently, she is a Project Lead the Way Instructor for the School City of Hammond in Indiana. Leontae has also served a 4-year term as a board member of Engineering Technology Educators of Indiana. Her passion for STEAM encouraged her to establish her company, S.T.E.A.M. City Tek Exec, where she partners with other organizations and travels throughout urban communities to host STEM camps for youth. Leontae is eager to find and pursue opportunities that will allow her to continue to advance in this field and make a huge impact in the community. In her spare time, Leontae loves exploring music, engaging in her children’s educational and recreational activities, and spending time with her family.
Sandra Hartman is entering her 16th year of teaching. As a Korean American Sandra recognizes the need for more females of color in the STEM fields and hopes to use her experience to push female students towards STEM fields. She’s currently the Computer Technology and Media Design teacher with the East Stroudsburg Area School District. In addition to teaching Computer Science and Media Design Sandra also does some Technology Integration with other teachers in her school. Additionally, Sandra advises after-school clubs like Student Council, and the Media and Design Competition as well as oversees the Morning Announcements Broadcast, The Lehman Today Show. Sandra graduated from Marywood University with a B.S. in Accounting, and an MAT, in Secondary Education. Sandra also holds a Post Bac Certification in Family and Consumer Sciences, and a NJ State Supervisor Certification. Currently, Sandra is working on an M.Ed in Instructional Technology at East Stroudsburg University. Sandra is also the mother of two College Seniors. Outside of work Sandra enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with her Cricut machine and her family.
Shawn Patrick Higgins
Shawn Patrick Higgins is a coding and media arts teacher at Parkrose Middle School in Portland, Oregon. He’s worked with youth in creative technology for fourteen years and in the classroom teaching computer science for nine, specializing in project-based curriculum that fuses digital design, animation, audio, social and games as a creative pathway to student success! His honors include the Best Buy Foundation’s Inspired Teaching Award in 2015, the CenturyLink Clarke M William Foundation’s Teacher and Technology award in 2016, the Paul Allen Distinguished Educator award in 2016, Oregon’s PBS Digital Innovator of the Year in 2017, PBS’s National Digital Innovator All-Star Teacher in 2018, and his selection as a Processing Foundation Teaching Fellow in 2021.
Vanessa Jones is a Technology Design Specialist for the Austin Independent School District in Austin, Texas where she works at the district level helping to implement and facilitate blended and personalized technology integrated learning experiences. She is a facilitator for Code.org’s CS Fundamentals and CS Discoveries programs and has trained hundreds of teachers in the basics of computer science. Ms. Jones is an online facilitator and course designer for the University of Texas at Austin’s Strategies for Effective and Inclusive Computer Science Teaching (SciPs) course. She is currently helping with the redesign of this course. Ms. Jones is a CS for All Teachers Ambassador where she co-facilitates a new CS Equity and Access Group for CS for All Teachers. She is a peer reviewer for the Education Innovation and Research Group. She is also a member of the 100Kin10 Project Team. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, earned her master’s degree from North Texas University in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on instructional technology, and received her teacher certification from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.
Catherine Medina-DeVilliers is Puerto Rican-American. She holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Fairfield University with minor degrees in Math and Spanish. She is a Nationally Board-certified teacher with an M.S. and Ed.S. from The George Washington University and completing an additional master’s degree in Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology. She has been teaching Mathematics and Computer Science at the secondary level for over twenty years. She has expanded CS programs/courses at many high schools and recognized by the College Board for the growth of young women in CS AP courses. As a military spouse, she has a national perspective on teaching to various groups. Currently, she is teaching Computer Science as a full-time Professor at Germanna Community College. Her husband and high school sweetheart, Dr. Edward DeVilliers own a software development company. She enjoys being with her four beautiful children, grandson, and Pumi, dog Ignacio.
I am a Teacher in Bagdad High/Middle School. Becoming a teacher has been one of my best decisions in my life. Every day trying new things in my classroom, understanding the problems of my students, communicating with community members, fellow teachers, administrators to make our students successful makes me feel that a teacher can bring so many smiles in society. Currently, I am doing my Doctorate degree program in Education. My work has been recognized by many awards and recognitions. I am, also, on the board of various organizations to promote education in every corner of the country and the world. For me, equity has a deep meaning that we all work together to make everyone successful. I have always believed that Education is all about collaboration and constant learning. We learn from each other, we share with each other and together we can all be successful.
Carla Neely is an award-winning fifth and sixth-grade science and computer science teacher at Warner Girls’ Leadership Academy (WGLA) for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) in Cleveland, OH. She is an advocate for urban education and exposing African American girls to different aspects of science and computer science. Carla is also a Code.org facilitator for the Computer Science Discoveries program and a member of the inaugural 2021 micro:bit Champions Cohort. She trains and speaks at events geared toward helping teachers with best practices for motivating African American girls into the sciences. Carla feels that is important for girls to have the opportunity to use their own creativity and individuality in science and computer science. She is the 2022 Ohio Department of Education District 11 Teacher and one of the four finalists for Ohio’s 2022 Teacher of the Year. Carla is the interim secretary for CSTA-OH and a member of CSTA’s Editorial Board.
Dr. Sonal Patel
Sonal Patel is the Digital Learning Innovation Coordinator at San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools. She supports educators, coaches, and administrators in active professional learning, grounded in solid pedagogy and centered around digital accessibility and inclusion. Sonal has been leading county and state-wide efforts in broadening K-12 access and participation in Computer Science. As a recently appointed member of SCALE-CA (Supporting Computing Access, Leadership, and Equity in California), Sonal aims to build leadership capacity in computer science. Sonal is also the co-founder of the Inland Empire Computer Science Equity Task Force, a collaboration of multiple education stakeholders who are committed to the vision of providing a rigorous and inclusive CS Education.
Donald Saint-Germain is a high school Computer Science and 9-12 English Language Arts in New York City at the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice. Mr. Saint-Germain embarked on his journey into CS via professional developments offered by the NYCDOE CS4ALL team since 2016. Each year he has returned as either a participant or teacher trainer. Mr. Saint-Germain is passionate about incorporating technology into the classroom to improve student’s learning opportunities as he sees this as a vital aspect in preparing his students to be active participants in the 21st Century. Throughout his 5 years teaching CS, he has spent his time and efforts establishing a culture in which teachers and students are engaged academic citizens by using technology to communicate and enhance learning opportunities for all. His vision for delivering CS education focuses on expanding opportunities for each grade level to provide more learning opportunities for students in and outside of the classroom, with several of his CS students being awarded internships. In the past years, Mr. Saint-Germain has been awarded as a Math for America Master Teacher Fellowship, Teach for America CS Fellow, NYCDOE CS4ALL Blueprint Fellow and Ingenuity Team Member, CSforAllTeachers Inaugural CS in the Wild Community Ambassador, and Model and Peer Collaborative Teacher from the NYCDOE Teacher Leadership office and UFT.
Jennifer Styer has been teaching high school STEAM classes in Bellingham, Washington for 18 years. Jenny’s passion for equity began when she came to the realization that being female didn’t improve the diversity in her classroom. Throughout her career, she has attended inclusion and diversity workshops in computer science and participated in anti-racist education and book groups. As a result, she has tried everything from bunnies in the classroom to an all-girls middle school club. She believes that if everyone learns computer science the world will be a better place. Jenny intertwines art and creativity with technology to assist her students in solving problems. When she isn’t teaching, she can be found on horseback or enjoying the outdoors.
Ashley Ufret, proud of her Puerto Rican heritage was born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y. She identifies as a lifelong learner and scholar. A proud NYC Teaching Fellow alumni, she is now entering her 6th year as an educator at P.S. 375 in Brooklyn, N.Y. A Childhood and Bilingual elementary school teacher, she was introduced to Computer Science as a member of the Department of Education’s CS4ALL Sep Jr. program. Having personally fought to overcome physical and societal barriers to success, and bearing witness to the inequities faced by her students, she quickly embraced the invitation to participate in CS4ALL’s Equity initiative; joining the Ingenuity and Exploring Equity in Computer Science (EECS) teams. In an effort to advocate for and empower her students, over the past 4 years Ashley Ufret has dedicated her personal time towards professional development in the content and instructional practices of CS and Equity. She finds innovative ways to integrate CS and Equity education within core content areas (math, ELA, SS, Science) taught in grades K-5. Her goal is to bring CS and Equity education to as many students as possible. Now, with over 400 hours of professional learning in CS and Equity, she welcomes any opportunity to share her expertise with other educators in the hope they become inspired to do the same.
Tory Wadlington is in his 5th year as a special education teacher in Southern California. He is a tech enthusiast with a passion for building equity and creating safe spaces for BIPOC students, staff, and families. He is a co-founder of Equity in Action CA which has brought teachers and leaders of color together for professional development. As a graduate of Grambling State University, an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) Tory noticed stark differences in student achievement and motivation based on cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. This propelled him into many mentorship positions, eventually leading him to get his Master’s degree in Educational Technology, with a credential focusing on Special Education. Tory used computer science to create safe space classrooms, and new ways to engage previously unmotivated students. His heart for special education and Social and Emotional Learning has helped him develop training on engaging and welcoming all students.